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#TWenty: The 2017 TomasinoWeb Year-ender

2016 was a merely a teaser for​ more terrible things to come—but 2017 was also the year we fought back.

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A letter from the editor

To say that 2017 was a challenging year is an understatement: 2017 was a terrible year—which is honestly funny, considering how just exactly a year ago, we were all probably tweeting how 2016 was the #WorstYearEver (it’s Twitter; sharper expletives are welcome).

If anything, the past year was merely a teaser for worse things to come, and it seems that 2017 picked up where 2016 left off: The Growling Tigers continued their dismal performance in the UAAP, securing only a single win this season; the government’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs continue to claim the lives of thousands, even teenagers; and hazing has killed another student, and this time, it’s a Thomasian—all while the Dutertes enjoy lavish photoshoots in the Malacañang.

Mocha Uson is now an actual government official (which, more or less, gives legitimacy to her blatant misinformation frenzy), martial law is in full swing in Mindanao after a series of terror attacks, and candidates who lost to abstentions in the student council elections have threatened to take over the vacant posts.

It was a terrible year, but it was also the year we fought back.

A hashtag has given sexual harassment victims a voice to decry and expose abusers. Thousands marched in the streets of Manila last Sept. 21 to protest the government’s inhumane drug operations and harassment of farmer and indigenous communities. Mental health advocates also fought the stigma surrounding mental health conditions with a hashtag and Ariana Grande showed the world that we could respond to terrorism with love and solidarity.

It’s undeniable that we are living in dangerous times—and that we are facing even more challenging times ahead. Despite all the things we hated this year, we are here, on the last day of the year, hoping that we could fight our way through 2018 like we did this 2017.

With that, I now present to you the top 20 people, issues, events, and trends that defined the spirit of 2017.

My comrades, Thomasians, Filipinos, netizens: Here is #TWenty.

The fight continues,
Philip Jamilla

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OneFORESTpaña! Thomasians show support for Salinggawi

Representing the University of Santo Tomas, the Salinggawi Dance Troupe are set for the UAAP Season ’82 Cheerdance Competition; with the theme, “OneForestpaña.”

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salinggawi qpav
Photo by Ann Corinne Vizconde

Charm, grace, and beauty. UST’s Salinggawi Dance Troupe captivates attention as they continuously carry triumph in their performances. Thomasians convey their ever-constant support and encouragement—hoping for ‘Gawi to win the crown once again.

Representing the University of Santo Tomas, the Salinggawi Dance Troupe are set for the UAAP Season ’82 Cheerdance Competition; with the theme, “OneForestpaña.”  The Forest symbolism represents the untouched realm and beauty of the unknown—where awe-inspiring trees are as tall as skyscrapers, fresh air that soothes the soul and the fathomless beauty of nature while unraveling its mysteries. More magical than before, a glimpse of what Thomasians are expected to see from the University’s pride.

Loud roaring cheers are prepared for the team. The Growling Tigers’ famous chanting eagerly awaits the SM Mall of Asia Arena on November 17. Last year, the Salinggawi placed 4th in the Cheerdance Competition—a narrow miss to finish third-place against Adamson Pep Squad by 0.5 points in the tally. 

On the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, all the glory was for Espana when the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe successfully bagged the first place with their tiger-inspired theme. Therefore, the Thomasian spirit never falters, holding onto the promising victory once more. 

España is all for OneFORESTpaña

With last year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition still fresh in mind, students from all-over the university did not hesitate to support them with beaming optimism. John Edrich Allarey from the Faculty of Arts and Letters shared his sentiments in an interview with TomasinoWeb, “I still support them because they represent our University. Also, ang ganda ng ginawa nila, parang may continuity from their performance last time. I expect na higitan ‘yung performance nila kumpara last year. Goodluck Salinggawi Dance Troupe!”

“UST UAAP CDC Pep Rally November 11, 2019: Tigers from Faculty of Arts and Letters’ way of showing their support to Salinggawi Dance Troupe at Quadricentral Pavillion” | Photo by Marklance Talento

Jacob Isaac Enriquez from the Faculty of Pharmacy happily shared with TomasinoWeb his support for the team, “Salinggawi Dance Troupe is the premier prestige and pride of the University of Santo Tomas. For me, they are really showcasing what a real and true Thomasian talent is through the UAAP community.” 

His advanced message of success is testament to the Thomasians’ unwavering support and confidence in the group, “As early as this moment, I just want to congratulate Salinggawi Dance Troupe for doing a job well done, enjoy and show your best. Break a leg! Don’t forget that they are performing not just for the University but also for themselves.”

“Smiling altogether for Salinggawi from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the UST Qpav on 11th of November 2019” | Photo by Marklance Talento

Impressed upon this year’s theme, an Environmental Biology student from the College of Science explains with TomasinoWeb, “Relatable kasi ‘yung theme sa course ko.” He added, “Salinggawi Dance Troupe deserves all the support they [can] get kasi they excel naman talaga sa mga performances nila. I’ve watched their pep rally last year and sobrang amazing. Goodluck Salinggawi and One FORESTpaña!”

Senior High School student Luis Miguel Rosales also expressed his thoughts for the dance troupe. “They really give their whole heart fighting all the way for UST. That’s why I know they would give it their all and wholeheartedly persevere—striving to win and representing the University of Santo Tomas but not only for the school but also the student body as we, Tomasinos, are also cheering for them,” he shares in an interview with TomasinoWeb. Offering more comfort, he cheers, “We will support you all the way, Salinggawi!”

“Senior High full support for the PEP Rally at QPAV on November 11, 2019.” | Photo by Marklance Talento

Voices ringing with hope and confidence for the beloved team, the atmosphere in the campus is rimmed with faith and solidarity. Proudly portraying the wholeheartedly devoted Thomasian community that is seen in the huge crowd lined up to support the UST UAAP CDC Pep Rally at  Quadricentral Pavillion on November 11, 2019. Aiming for excellence, the Salinggawi Dance Troupe is a beacon—showcasing UST’s commitment, compassion and competence as best as they can. Every Thomasian sees this clearly, supporting them all the more for it. 

Counting down the days to the anticipated performance, a thousand cheers from every breathtaking stunt and graceful motion during the pep rally is a surefire show of support for Salinggawi. Thomasians have faith that they will show yet another thrilling performance. Executing every jump, lift and toss exceptionally, Salinggawi will capture not only the hearts of Thomasians but also of everyone who will lay their eyes on their insignia: the mystic of España

As they take their final stances, one thing is for sure. The Salinggawi Dance Troupe will not stand alone—for a huge crowd in their brightest yellows will be right behind them, chanting, “Go USTE!”

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QCinema 2019 continues to hold its prime

This year, the QCinema International Film Festival exhibited a new set of entries from aspiring Filipino and International filmmakers, producers and actors who, in turn, showcased their top-caliber skills, featuring it through their unique, creative and enthralling films. 

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“One City. To the World.” 

Carrying ideals from years past to its 7th year, QCinema International Film Festival 2019 ensures stability and a promising future. This year, the film fest exhibited a new set of entries from aspiring Filipino and International filmmakers, producers and actors who, in turn, showcased their top-caliber skills, featuring it through their unique, creative and enthralling films. 

QCinema International Film Festival is the official film festival of Quezon City. Held last October 19 until October 22, the event was first set in motion in 2013 by the Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC) and is the only Local Government Unit that has its own commission in the film industry.

This year, there were more than 60 film entries including three featured Filipino films in the competition under Asian Next Wave; Cleaners, Babae at Baril, and Kaaway sa Sulod. The film fest aired for one week in various cinema venues within the city which included Trinoma, Gateway Cinemas in Cubao and Robinsons Galleria and other micro-cinemas around the city. 

Within these 60 film entries, awards will be chosen among the best stars, hence, the film festival also gives annual pylon awards to the actors, producers and the entries that showed remarkable and exceptional performance.

The Filipino film entry “Cleaners,” garnered three awards, winning under the category of Asian Next Wave as The Best Film, Audience Choice Award, and Best Screenplay of the year. It was directed by Glenn Barit, who did a remarkable job as the film went beyond the standards of filmmaking. Barit dived deeper into the imagination—directing the film by photocopying the 43, 000 frames, painting the scenes and digitally arranging it in a way that gave the film its retro-vibe. 

One might wonder, what’s with all the neon lights in the monochromatic film Cleaners? The pictures of the characters were highlighted, hence, it appeared pleasing to the eyes of the audience. This creative strategy made it stand out among the rest. Moreover, the story was set circa 2007 to 2008 in a high school in Tuguegarao, Cagayan. The film showed the accuracy of how students struggled in this era, and the different kinds of people you will meet— making anyone feel nostalgic of their high school days. 

Photo from QCinema website.

In an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb, instructor Marc Kevin Romulo, a National Service Training Program lecturer in Quezon City University expressed his sentiments towards the film Cleaners. “Wala akong masabi but standing ovation talaga yung movie,” he remarks.

Romulo is in curriculum development and has actively supported indie films since 2013, including Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP). He was amazed when he found out that the film was made in an entirely different manner. “The best film kasi ang ganda ng pagkakagawa, especially the creativity.”

Romulo exclaims after seeing the film, further commenting on its timeliness—especially for the youth. “Yung message ng movie is very quite related sa curriculum instruction development. Ipinakita rin kung paano nagaadapt yung mga bata ngayon sa mga problems, encountered feelings and kung paano sila gumagawa ng kanilang sariling mundo,” he added. 

In addition, Romulo’s take on the film’s title is centered on responsibility “It [Cleaners] shows our duty as being human and as a part of the society na lahat ng feelings and mistakes kaya nating linisin.” Assuredly, the film is a must-watch for all ages, leaving an impacting conclusion. 

Another interview with TomasinoWeb, instructor Marc Kevin Romulo also watched Babae at Baril and admired its concept which portrayed the harsh reality for a woman, “Ipinapakita doon ang realidad ng buhay—it’s a kind of indie film na ipinapakita yung pagkamatotoo sa nangyayari sa buhay ng tao.” 

Bagging the Gender Sensitive Award is another film entry under Asian Next Wave. “Babae at Baril” directed by Red Rae and produced by Iana Bernardez. Rae Red was victorious as the Best Director while the leading lady of the film, Janine Gutierrez won the Best Actress Award. 

The film speculates the reality amidst toxic masculinity in society, clearly illustrating how women are faced with discrimination, harassment, and unfairness—suffocating them in a life that could lead to the worst possible scenario: violence. The day that the meek sales lady, played by Janine Gutierrez, found a gun on her doorstep and clutching it in her hands,  a rush of empowerment went through her: the life that she knew starts to shift. 

Photo from QCinema website.

In an interview with TomasinoWeb,  Jholo Baybayon, an electrical engineering student and head editor chief of LIKHA Production at Quezon City University explained his depiction of the film’s setting, “The world is really cruel if you look into the deeper side. ‘Pag tumingin ka sa marginalized sectors, doon mo makikita ‘yung mga anomaly na ginagawa nila. Sa Babae at Baril, it’s unusual to see a woman that uses a gun. Pero dahil sa sitwasyon ng bida (Janine Gutierrez) nakita ko kung bakit niya kailangan gamitin ‘yun.” 

Gutierrez’s character as a timid sales lady went through work discrimination and sexual abuse. The gun was her way of finally defending herself, to feel empowered, and to be free from the shackles of the harsh environment she constantly lives in. 

Deviating from heavy dramatic themes, an Australian film entry, Top End Wedding, addresses the life struggles and culture within a family through comedy. Directed by Wayne Blair, co-written by Miranda Tapsell and Joshua Tyler, and starring Gwilym Lee and Miranda Tapsell.

Top End Wedding is a story about Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) and Ned (Joshua Tyler), an engaged couple euphoric on thoughts of their dream wedding. However, they are faced with the conflict of saving a marriage that is on the verge of falling out where Lauren’s (Tapsell) mother disappeared somewhere in the northern part of Australia. 

Photo from QCinema website.

Audience member Sofia Palmiano shared her views with TomasinoWeb. Stating that the film was unexpectedly beautiful, “[] nagustuhan ko yung twist. Nung yung mother ay naghanap ng alone time para makahanap ng courage to face her family, at noong broken siya eh bumalik pa rin siya sa family niya.” This portrayed how unbreakable their family bond is. When asked if she will recommend this film to her friends, her reply was a definite yes. 

Sketching a picture of cultural diversity welcomed wholeheartedly, the film’s marital nature played true to its word with the wedding scene. Samantha Palmiano, another audience member, recalls, “[…] pinaghandaan talaga yung wedding and with all the struggles, they were finally married.” Ensuring the reality of your dream wedding is truly a fairytale. Top End Wedding showed that no matter the conflict thrown your way, as long as you have your loved ones, you will find a way to resolve it. 

Generously bestowing grants to its entries, 1.5 million in peso was granted to the featured films under Asian Next Wave by the film fest. The chosen featured documentary entries received 500 thousand pesos and 200 thousand pesos was under QCShorts film competition. 

There were twelve deserving entries that received these grants under their respective categories. The winners from Asian Next Wave Competition are Cleaners, which won the Best Film Award, Audience Choice Award, and Best Screenplay. Babae at Baril as Gender Sensitivity Award and its director Rae Red as Best Director and Janine Gutierrez as Best Actress.

Best Actor was given to Por Silatsa of the film Long Walk. NETPAC Jury Prize was given to Suburban Birds directed by Qui Sheng. Best Artistic Choice Award for contribution in editing under Asian Next Wave Competition was won by Lee Chatametikool from the film Nakorn-Sawan. 

The winning entries under QCShorts film competition are Judy Free directed by Che Tagyamon as the Best Film,  Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss directed by Sonny Calvento as the recipient of Audience Choice Award and Tokwifi directed by Carla Pulido Ocampo as the winner of Special Jury Prize.

Truly one of the dazzling highlights in Quezon City, the film festival embraced local and international films of all genres, and provided a wide yet creative perspective fitting to all movie enthusiasts. The festival serves as a bridge to show the beauty and artistic capabilities of local and international filmmakers. 

QCinema is a perfect opportunity for anyone yearning to step up their game and showing their exceptional skills—leaving a mark in the film industry. 

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Teatro Tomasino stages the triumph of taking chances with “Baka Sakali”

The twin-bill production featured Habulan sa Pagitan ng mga Maliliit na Kamay ni Kamatayan, and Kublihan. It is a narrative of trials against time and fate, of waiting, and the triumph of taking chances.

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Photo by Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

There are three kinds of people in the world when it comes to love: those who easily receive the same kind of love they give—the lucky ones; those who do not even care at all—still, one of the lucky ones; and then there are the rest of us—those who need to risk, and take chances.

Maybe we are all gamblers of love—rolling the dice with the fear of being vulnerable, risking everything we have; or the hope of winning and the chances that fate will be in our favour. It just all goes around these two—the risk of losing and the hope of succeeding. 

For their 42nd season, Teatro Tomasino, the official theater guild of the University of Santo Tomas, staged Baka Sakali. The twin-bill production featured Habulan sa Pagitan ng mga Maliliit na Kamay ni Kamatayan, and Kublihan. It is a narrative of trials against time and fate, of waiting, and the triumph of taking chances. This year, they celebrated all the paths we take, the decisions we make, and the chances we risk.

Habulan sa Pagitan ng mga Maliliit na Kamay ni Kamatayan, written by Jay Crisostomo IV and directed by Patrick Demition, starred Eudes Garcia as the butterfly; Sofia Miel Ligutom as the princess; and John David Saw as the prince. Habulan tells the story of two immortal souls in an endless journey of chasing. The death and rebirth of two lovers, meeting too many times in different lifetimes—from being a princess, an animal, up to being a rock—only to be separated by fate. 

“A story of two lovers who always find each other in different lifetimes… in the wrong place and the wrong time,” director Patrick Demition shared in an online interview with TomasinoWeb. It is a story of waiting, of chasing, and of faith—a testimony that we take chances for love, and that love can wait.

Kublihan, the second part of the play, was written by Jerome Ignacio. Andrew Santos played Mike while Matthew Villareal and Shingie Taira both played Julio Kublihan narrates the story of a blossoming friendship tested by farewells and goodbyes. 

The desire to freeze time, to stay in stopovers—embracing the passing minutes, but at the same time, the need to continue and face the fleeting life. “Kublihan is [about] discovering yourself throughout the process of something difficult… It also shows the audience that every person has their own story to tell,” Andrew Santos shared his own take of the story in an online interview with TomasinoWeb. A journey of self-discovery and of taking chances despite the fear of the future, it shows the beauty of friendship and the triumph in taking risks.

Photo by Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

Baka Sakali is a call for hope to those who are about to risk, or for all the love that has gone astray—never returned. A tribute and a testimony that “love and taking chances aren’t easy,” as Demition believed. 

It is a motivation to gamble, to roll the dice, and to face the possibility of losing. “There is always hope as long as we pursue,” Santos added. There are chances worth taking, and people worth risking for. It is through these narratives that we can keep on clamoring for chances and taking it—for we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

These stories will make us unafraid to face the ultimate test of time, the flipping fortune of fate, and all the possibilities love can ever offer—for fate will always favour the brave.

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